Saturday, August 30, 2008

Memories of Angie

My Aunt Angie died last evening – as her body couldn’t fight off the pneumonia and related respiratory limitations that ravished her body. Many years of heavy smoking finally took their toll.

Angie’s children – particularly Debbie – her oldest – did their best to make her life comfortable and positive as her life fell apart after a broken hip no longer allowed her to live independently.

Angie grew up in Spanish Harlem with Sicilian immigrant parents whose English never was good. She rebelled against the life there as an intellectual classical dancer. My uncle Josef was “a find” – but she paid a big price in being his “housekeeper”. She helped make the last half of his life be positive and successful, but was often not recognized as the one who raised the children and was the “wonderful hostess” as he lived life much as he wanted it to be.

Angie was widowed in late 1978 – living almost 30 years building a life as an interpreter – taking classes in three languages simultaneously – after City University began its open admissions program – developing a strong life of her own.

She searched for a way to live near the water - leaving Manhattan’s noise – for a part of her life that I never knew much about.

Angie was most welcoming and accepting of me – from my days as a child until the end of her life. Early this year I saw her – in horrible health – knowing that it would be my last time with her. She asked me to come back the next day – which was hard for me –but important. My last visit with her was far more meaningful than I could have hoped for and I really appreciated it at the time.

I am sad at the death of my aunt! I also know that she was not happy living in poor health. She endured some not-good nursing/custodial care as her children struggled to make her life the best that they could. She lived her life and did what was what she could do. My memories are positive and warm and loving. I’m sorry at how hard it’s been on her children – coping with the last period of her life.


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